Would McCain have won the election if he'd chosen Tom Ridge as Veep?

With the way the electoral map has shaken out and the way the Palin selection has been received would a Tom Ridge choice by McCain for VP have been a master stroke that could have delivered the election for McCain?*

Palin has energized a certain segment of the Republican base and created a lot of buzz and gave a big bump immediately following the RNC but I think most analysts an pundits would agree that she has been polarizing at best for the GOP and has up to this point cause more harm than good for McCain’s ticket.

Just about every news program is pinning McCain’s hopes on his winning Pennsylvania against long odds and with it’s 21 electoral votes it would be a huge get, and he’s been forced to dump huge amounts of resources and time into it in the final weeks. Would having Tom Ridge on the ticket have locked up Pennsylvania for McCain? If not, I think it’s safe to say that it would have made it a much closer race if a Pennsylvanian were on the ticket and one heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Also, McCain was heavily campaigning on the notion that he was the better choice for National Security and for handling the war on terror and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. By selecting Palin he took attention off of that and essentially undermined his own argument and promise that his VP choice would be the one best suited to making the US safe and secure. Ridge’s former position as Secretary of Homeland Security would have given the credentials to contest Biden’s position as the foreign policy honk and security expert.

Ridge has significantly more experience than Palin and would have probably assuaged much of the fear that he could be forced to succeed McCain in office. He’s a fairly centrist Republican (I think, could be wrong there) and would have helped the McCain ticket to label itself as a across-the-aisle ticket and one that would bring the GOP back towards the center.

What do you think, would Obama have been in trouble with a McCain-Ridge ticket? Has Palin’s impact been actually as negative overall for McCain as it appears on it’s face? If so, would Ridge have at least been neutral on that point if not a boost? Would Ridge have easily delivered Pennsylvania? Would that have turned the election?

  • I realize that the election is by no means a done deal at this point 24 hours out, but lets just assume the polls are correct so far and that everything holds to farm. Go vote Obama!

I think its too early for this kind of speculation.

McCain would have won the election if he would have talked about McCain rather than Obama.

I definitely think Ridge would’ve been a much more sensible choice, but really, McCain would’ve had to make more sensible choices in campaign staff and messaging, and not hauled off to Washington when he wasn’t needed in the bailout crisis, among other things. Crap, there’s at least a half dozen loser moves I’m forgetting that helped cost him the election. In other words, his whole campaign stunk, basically. I have a hard time believing the Republicans haven’t been actively trying to throw the election (so they don’t have to clean up their own mess) and poison the well for Obama so they can make a more serious try in 2012.

He would have lost my vote.

pa would be in a different fight. ridge is still popular and has a good west pa base.

rendell is still considered an eastern pa. gov. and doesn’t have the central and western base.

I don’t think merely picking Ridge would have won it for him, but it wouldn’t have lost him civil libertarians like Palin did. He could have won with Ridge. Even better, he might well have won with Lieberman, & a de facto “Unity 2008” ticket. He lost the minute he picked Palin.

McCain will probably lose primarily because he ran a terrible campaign. I thought Kerry ran a bad campaign 4 years ago, but McCain’s is much worse. He would need a lot more than a good VP pick to win if we assume his campaign tactics would remain the same. Not to mention that fact that Obama is running a extremely good campaign, which would not have changed with Ridge on the GOP ticket.

I think McCain will probably lose because he’s a Republican and because he’s not seen as someone with much to say about the economy. It’s possible a Mitt Romney might have done better than McCain, but I doubt it. I don’t think the VP matters at all in this case.

Look at it this way, McCain has run an incredibly shitty campaign and I personally think that his politics suck, but he’s still marginally in this race at this point. If PA were solidly red, then we’d all be gnashing our teeth about the fact this race is practically a dead heat. Most of the more despicable McCain tactics have been a result of his need to compensate for the negative effects of Palin. Had he not selected her and as a result lost many of the civil libertarians lots of those former red states would not be teetering on the brink. Obama might not have been in play in FL, NC and VA at all and NH would probably be solidly red right now.

I have a pet theory that the GOP essentially forced McCain to select Palin under the assumption that this election was a lost cause and that by putting her in the national spotlight, ala Obama at the DNC in 2004, they’d be propping her up for 2012. There were probably several safer candidates but the GOP decided that the usual suspects were too poisoned by Bush to be viable in 2012 and this was the only way to give any new blood any credibility.

That’s a whole different thread though.
PS - All you drive-by threadshitters, how about offering a fucking argument or at least a complete thought if you are going to bother to reply? :rolleyes:

I think it’s foolish to say that the VP didn’t matter in this race. The idea of President Palin has seriously energized the Dems in terms of volunteers and money. The election went from “important” to “let’s mutiny and riot if we lose” levels on the left. If there was any Democratic ambivalence about Obama, Palin cured it. Similarly it caused lots of Republicans, especially the thoughtful moderate ones, to react the way that Colin Powell did. VP, for maybe the first time in history, was the difference maker in this election.

Though, that’s not to say that Ridge wouldn’t have come with his own baggage and would have failed to energize certain parts of the GOP. Perhaps there’s a question that “if McCain had selected anyone other than Palin would this race be closer?” I think the answer there is yes, and I also think that you’d be correct in saving the VP didn’t matter there. The campaign would have been Obama v. McCain, not Obama v. McCain/Palin. I still think Obama would have won, but if you were able to definitively hand PA to the GOP I’d be a hell of a lot more worried.

And I think it’s foolish to think the VPs do–at least much. If there were no running mates, I think the polls would look the same.

There is no such thing as “the GOP” in the sense that you are using that term-- ie, some monolithic entity that “forces” things to happen. It’s a bunch of competing factions, many of whom were horrified at the selection of Palin.

Correction: It’s foolish to think the running mates matter much. The thing is, though, with the way the Republican ticket has been running their campaign for the past months, it’s been McCain that’s Palin’s running mate, not the other way around. She’s the one drawing the big crowds at rallies, she’s the one energizing the base, she’s the one people are talking about. It’s bad for Team Elephant that she doesn’t energize anyone but the base, but McCain doesn’t energize anyone at all.

Yeah, Palin had no effect on the race. :rolleyes: Just a cursory glace at the SDMB will show you that voters are very, very tuned into the VP’s impact on this race. I think you are going to be alone in your analysis.

Yes, I think everyone understands that fact. However, there is a defined group of policy and platform makers employed by the RNC who advise the McCain campaign and prescribe the direction of his ads, speeches and talking points. There probably are portions of the GOP that are disaffected in this process, but if they aren’t in the room then they don’t really affect the process in any meaningful way. And if they count themselves amongst the Republican party and vote accordingly then they are in effect the GOP and are responsible for the choices they make.

McCain was likely screwed in any case; he just went down in a bigger fireball this way.

Ridge is pro-choice.

Could McCain have had any better of a chance of winning with a reasonably qualified running mate who may have delivered PA but who would have pissed off the core? Who already didn’t much trust or like him?

The dynamic would have been different but he would have cut himself off from his right flank and been just as doomed. He really had no winning moves. Of course that’s no excuse for picking the exact worse one!

A cursory glance at the SDMB will show that we’re mostly Obama supporters.

If you’re interested in a debate, cool it with the condescension and rolleyes.

I’ve never thought much of what Ridge might’ve brought to the ticket. His most notable achievement to the nation at large is the color-coded terror alert system, which is widely (correctly) regarded as a joke.

I’ve said since September that the other options were really lame, so Palin wasn’t THAT bad of a choice. But I think I have to admit by now that the polls show independents think she’s an idiot and even Republicans have serious concerns. So looking at that I guess the conclusion is that McCain shouldn’t have compromised the experience card (in exchange for a “team of mavericks” thing that never caught on). But the second-biggest problem McCain had - and the most significant one he could control* - is a failure to connect with people on economic issues. In the first presidential debate, he didn’t mention the middle class once, and he continued to make that error in the other debates and even to the end of the campaign. So maybe Romney was the best choice after all, much as people didn’t respond to him as a person. The one thing he could’ve offered was economic expertise.

I do stick to my thesis though - all the top candidates had at least one serious flaw, and I don’t think you can automatically conclude that McCain would’ve won if he’d picked someone else. Palin had the experience problem, but Ridge and Lieberman weren’t socially conservative enough and Romney lack real conservative cred, especially on religion, while Pawlenty didn’t seem to have anything to offer. All of them (except Palin) are very short on pizzazz, and he DID need to generate some excitement. I don’t know think it would have been impossible to find someone who fit the conservative criteria without surrendering experience.

Ultimately maybe McCain just had too many flaws for a VP to cancel out. He had a shortage of excitement, of Reagan conservative plaudits, and of religion. Maybe if he’d been able to grab a hold of one of those three, he would’ve have had to go so far outside the box for his VP and independents would have been easier to reach.

*The biggest problem in the campaign wasn’t McCain’s fault: it was that his opponent was Barack Obama.

McCain lost the election when the financial markets tanked. Palin didn’t help, but he would have had at least a fighting chance in a reasonably good economy.

Once the economy officially went down the drain, Ridge wouldn’t have helped.